This morning, I was asked by WIBC’s Steve Simpson what the legacy of this Butler Bulldog basketball team would be. And I’m afraid at the early hour of the morning when the question was asked, I didn’t do a very good coming up with a coherent answer.
Upon further reflection, I think there are some key numbers to consider when contemplating Butler’s legacy over the last few year’s in men’s basketball. Most of them have nothing to do with points and rebound or winning and losing on the court.
After the sandman vacated my eyes this morning, I recalled a conversation I had two weeks ago with a parent of a prospective Butler student; not a ball player, just a serious student. The parent told me his child became a huge Butler fan when she learned the Butler players went to class the day of last year’s NCAA championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium.
So when you ask me what the legacy of this Butler basketball team will be, I could point to wins and losses, or financial and marketing gains for the school’s athletics department or even the larger university. I could even point to the tough-face, yet cuddly mascot that’s made national headlines.
But this is what I’d tell you: Butler’s NCAA graduation rate stands at 83 percent.
For comparison’s sake, VCU’s is 56 percent, Kentucky’s is 44 percent and Connecticut’s is 31 percent.
Now you tell me, who is the national champion? What is the real prize?
And when all the cheering has faded, how will these teams and these players be remembered in the eyes of those who matter most?